As you might imagine, I never really know where a new thought will come from. There was a time many years ago when, as I sat in my favorite, comfortable easy chair watching yet another night of boring television, it suddenly it came to me. I need to stop watching the mindless tripe available on network televisions for a while. It came to me that I was in danger of destroying my thought processes.
As I recall, the first step in this new approach to life involved turning the TV off. Oh did that one hurt. Once that was completed, I stood up, paced out to the kitchen and brewed a fresh pot of coffee. A short time later I returned to my favorite chair with a magazine and a book. The magazine was the latest edition of The New Jersey Freemason. The book was Stephen R. Covey’s fabulous The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
I guess you could say that these two literary documents were as far away from modern television as a body can get. The combination of these two divergent pieces of literary work led to a very late night for me. Let me assure you that I suddenly was overtaken with the inspiration to attack a number of problems facing me in different parts of my life.
The message from our Grand Master of Masons in New Jersey seemed fairly simple at first. He began by quoting that email message of today’s generation of young people that many of us have seen on more than one occasion. It is the one that tells us about how many of the things that we over the age of forty take for granted as gospel.
You know the one that states in part, “… (T)hey have never feared a nuclear war. Most have never seen a … black and white TV.” And on it goes. Our Grandmaster was making a real point. It is truly amazing how you can read something many times, and not get the point until, “WHAM", it comes to you in a blinding flash. Younger people are different from us old duffers.
If this then is the case, how can we expect them to join with us in any endeavor, unless we can discover what they are all about? While our Grandmaster was addressing his remarks to the Brotherhood of Free Masons in New Jersey, I felt that he was saying things that crossed the borders of every organization I can imagine. And really folks, is there a more ritualistic, or traditional group than Freemasonry. Many of the things we do as Masons have passed intact from the days predating the founders of our great nation. Seeing the head of our group to speak on the topic of change was an inspiring thing for me to read.
Once we find ourselves able to understand the motivational factors which guide people of a certain age, we must willingly seek them out and let them share in what we do. It is critical to approach them in a way that is amenable to them. Since I do not twitter or tweet, I would need to search out a friend or relative who is comfortable within the new electronic reality.
We have to learn about young people and the ways that they live their lives. My research into this tells me that our younger generations learn differently and work differently than us older folks. In addition, it has long been my experience that no one likes to join a group where they will be abused, belittled, brow beaten, and trivialized. No one likes to be told to do things just BECAUSE! No one likes to be made to feel foolish every time they ask a question.
Unfortunately, this is what is happening all across the spectrum. Many of us have been in the organizations to which we belong for so many years that we automatically fall victim to the “we’ve always done it that way” syndrome. The sad thing is that far too many do not even notice the phenomenon at work.
Anyone who enters such a group as a new member and begins to challenge the norm of that group, in any way, is made to feel foolish. People tend to want people around them that mirror their view of themselves and their world. Those not fitting in are driven away. The Lord only knows how many times I have witnessed this.